After doing an initial feasibility on our new house project we are now moving forwards with the surveys that are required to support moving forwards to the design stage. We've chosen a local French architect to keep things moving forwards with local trades once the development gets underway as we know from previous experience that you have to keep on top of the plan or the trades move off onto other jobs & before you know it your 12m project becomes 18m!
So the first stage is to do a survey of the land & existing building. This was partially measured as part of the feasibility however for the definitive project we have been advised to instruct a géomètre to do a formal study. As you'd expect for France there is an ordre des geometre-experts. This expert will also identify the location of the well and the depth of the water - which is interesting to us for a couple of reasons, firstly, we have never found the well because it was so buried under overgrowth and an enormous fig tree, secondly we're interested in the depth of the water to see if we can use it for our garden and finally - if there is water in there - could this help with us installing a Geothermie system?
We're also undertaking a 'Sondage' inside the old stables which is below the garage in the house to see if we can excavate further back into the black area. Currently there is a stone wall on the boundary of the black to the old stables and around the Small Room. The Wine Cuve is accessed as a tank from the Garage & still has some rather whiffy rouge in it. We hope to remove this though expect it is reinforced concrete. The reason we want to excavate this level is because it is at Garden level and we would like to put our kitchen and open living space directly onto the garden without having to use steps to get down. I'd like a walk in larder cupboard too for all the jam, chutneys etc.
The sondage will tell us what is in the black area & whether the foundations of the house will support us excavating further under the house. The house is on a hill so from the back it is 3 storey but at the front it is only 2. We’re hoping that the foundations allow us to go back into the black! We could add light into this area through windows at the right of the house (which is South Facing) and through a large opening which already exists at the rear (stable side - west facing).
The outcome of these 2 studies determines the overall design for our house and whether we can have the ground floor kitchen living space of our dreams or not. I'm awaiting the results anxiously.